Ivan Golunov, an investigative correspondent for Meduza news website, has been arrested in the Russian capital. He was allegedly carrying “unidentified substance”, with the “intent to distribute”. Golunov was arrested on June 6 and, according to Meduza, beaten and denied lawyer for 14 hours.
Moscow police arrested Golunov at around 2:40 p.m. on June 6, sources told Meduza. His girlfriend was first informed of his arrest only after 14 hours, in the depth of night.
According to a statement by the CEO of Meduza, Galina Timchenko and the editor-in-chief Ivan Kolpakov, stated that the staff at Meduza fully believe Golunov’s innocence. They stated that a likely reason for Golunov’s arrest was his work as a journalist, since he has carried out “numerous investigations, exposing corrupt politicians, high-profile businessmen, and various fraudulent schemes.”
There have been several other notable arrests of journalists and activists in Russia in recent years, on the grounds of possession or distribution of narcotic substances. Meduza reports it is widely seen as a tool for Russian authorities to persecute undesirables.
Meduza is an independent Riga, Latvia-based Russian news website, established by the former journalists of famous website lenta.ru, who left it following the dismissal of Galina Timchenko as an editor-in-chief.
Several journalists, including Novaya Gazeta's Pavel Kanygin and Ilya Azar, and writer Viktor Shenderovich held one-man pickets in support of Golunov and were also arrested.